Coronavirus, which originated from Wuhan, has now affected almost every country on the globe. There is not a single country, state, or business without an impact owing to this global pandemic. While several sectors and industries are on the verge of shutting down, the adult industry is experiencing a mixed impact on the business.
Not every segment of the adult industry is dealing with the worst-case scenarios. Clearly, the porn industry is among the ones with a negative impact, but something is different about this segment. Let’s check out the following porn stats, as this will help us to identify the actual impacts better:
- Porn studios have paused their shoots and performers have lost their jobs and livelihood. However, the demand for internet porn has only increased in the lockdown. The stats show that the past few months have seen a three-fold surge in internet searches, downloads, and streaming related to porn.
- To our surprise, despite the suspended porn production, porn websites are making more money than the usual days. They are selling their old content for sure, but many porn performers having found some alternate ways to make money from their homes using the internet is also a major reason.
- In the countries where production and consumption of porn is a legal activity, most of the jobless creators and performers are getting relief packages from the government, like any other employment guaranty regulation.
- Ironically, the professionals from the countries with a ban on porn have nowhere to go. Countries where porn is illegal are coming out as largest consumer of porn on the globe. According to many local media reports, these regions have experienced up to a 95% spike in the porn traffic during their first 3-week lockdown due to the novel coronavirus.
Besides, porn alone does not make the entire adult industry. Adult retail and eCommerce segments claim a huge share, too. I am talking about the retailers, suppliers, and manufacturers, who deal in adult novelties like sex toys, pleasure enhancement products, cosplay gears, and contraceptives. While the brick and mortar stores are not operating in most of the regions, an extra burden of demands has come on the few online sellers who are still serving.
These sellers are trying their best to meet the demands and fulfill orders with utmost safety by following contact-less deliveries, paperless transactions, and proper sanitization protocols. However, the pandemic has hit on the eCommerce infrastructure, too. The fulfillment has come as a big concern, as online stores cannot sell without supplies. Every sector from manufacturing to distribution, logistic, imports, exports, and local couriers have slowed down or have suspended operations.
In short, an industry that is brimming with demands cannot even function due to an imperative need for social distancing is a big irony. Despite some biggest tractions in decades, the porn industry is struggling to keep up, and it is feeding its consumers with legacy content to earn some money. Both the porn websites and eCommerce sellers might survive for a few more months by selling from the old supplies, but eventually, the industry will need replenishment. In due course, everyone from the studios to performers, distributors, technicians, porn websites, and eCommerce stores, would need new jobs and new supplies to sell, survive, and thrive.
How to reboot your adult business after the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Have you been running an adult business before the pandemic?
Have you been thinking about starting an adult business before the pandemic?
If you fit into either of the situations, it’s comprehensible that you have decided to hold your plans amidst the pandemic. It would be rhetorical to say that you aim at reviving whatever you have been doing or planning. Of course, you are.
Let me begin with a harsh fact: Waiting for the pandemic to move on would be a fatal mistake on your part. If you are waiting for the pandemic to end to resume your adult business plan, you are leaving the money on the table.
If anything the stats about the adult industry amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are suggesting is, there is big desynch between the demand and supply of the adult content these days. Now is the right time to take your best foot forward and innovate your way into the profits by meeting these demands.
Table of Contents
Reconfirm Your Business Goals
Don’t underestimate the impact of COVID-19 on the adult industry. Take a step back and re-analyze what you want now with your business. Before COVID-19, you have been working on a different set of goals, which of course, did not factor the current disruptions. Now, re-think your goals and formulate new strategies to advance from this point forward in 2020.
Analyze the market and identify the approaches, business models, revenue channels, content sourcing models, marketing methods, and initiatives that look promising in the current scenario. Let’s understand this with the example of the porn industry.
While the studios are not producing new content, the paysites are still making money from their legacy content. However, Amateur content creators are following a much better strategy. Right from the mid-April itself, Adult Tube Sites like Pornhub and Xvideos started overflowing with searches for “Coronavirus” and related keywords.
Just search using the keywords like coronavirus, COVID, pandemic, lockdown, and quarantine, you will see thousands of results on the Pornhub itself. Independent filmmaker Erika Lust released her video named “Sex and Love in the Time of Quarantine” within two weeks of these searches making the headlines. Soon, Pornhub and other Tube sites swamped with the videos that used these keywords.
Moves by the creators like Erika Lust and Amateur community uploaders on the tube sites are a perfect example of rethinking your goals and adapting to the current situation to make the most out of it. For innovative marketers, there is hardly a difference between a Pandemic and Fidget Spinners when it comes to making the most out of any situation.
The market is full of examples:
- Sex toy sellers are adopting contact-less delivery methods to keep up with the demands
- Porn performers are migrating towards webcam sites to make up for the lost employment
- Strip club performers are using webcam modeling, phone sex services to generate income
- Major strip clubs themselves have gone online and offering live streaming of their shows
- Big social media influencers are signing up on OnlyFans and adult clip sharing sites to earn
- Amateur content creators are using pandemic as a trend to gain views on the Tube sites
Content creators are coming up with COVID-related fetishes such as people breaching quarantine to have sex outside, authorities catching people breaking quarantine, countless dynamics between patients and medics, and people offering sexual favors in exchange for necessities such as toilet papers. Of course, COVID-19 is not a trend but a lethal pandemic, but giving up would not help you either. We have seen some of the biggest forbidden things and taboos becoming a trend on porn websites. So why not COVID-19.
You just have to find a new way to advance from this point and re-purpose your strategies, while also not overlooking the tediousness of the situation.
Check the feasibility of the business model
As the market is changing every week for the worse, it is imperative to reconsider your business model and reassess where your business stands as per assumptions concerning the revenue and the cost. Identify the trends (as shown in the examples in the previous section) and accommodate your business accordingly.
To ensure the feasibility of an idea, the best way is to access the current competitions and understanding their ways. We saw how different businesses are re-shaping their strategies and adjusting their business goals. You need to do something like this with your business model, too.
If porn stars and porn lovers are moving towards webcam modeling, you too can come up with a webcam site of your own. It takes just a ready-made script like xCams to add a webcam business model to your existing adult website. In fact, a script like xCams can build you an independent webcam site in no time. You can move from an Ad-based tube site or subscription-based paysite to the multi-faceted revenue channels of a webcam business.
Let’s understand the feasibility of this business model with the example of strip clubs and gentlemen clubs. Strip club owners can take their business online using a webcam solution. One simple remodeling of the business model and the clubs can keep their strippers employed online, while also not losing their customers due to the lockdown. Clubs can conduct their shows live on webcam and customers can pay membership fees and tips using digital payments.
What could be a safer option to conduct the business than a webcam site, which not only allows the performers to work from the safety of their homes but also the customers can observe social distancing while watching and paying for the shows through digital modes?
Plan for the next 3 months/ 9 months/ 18 months
It is important to be prepared for all scenarios. For example, how long the current situations are going to affect your business. Say, if it’s a 3-month problem, an instant halt on variable expenditures like such as hiring, marketing, capital investment, revenue channels, prices of the products and services, model fees, etc. depends on your next 3 month’s business plan.
Analyze the situation and make calculated predictions of the same for the next 3, 9, and 18 months. Based on the calculations, prepare a roadmap of everything you are going to do in the due course. Starting right from reconfirming your business goals to the feasibility study, opportunities, current demand, available infrastructure, accessible B2B services, the role of the stakeholders, marketing plan, conversion goals, the scope for expansion, and possible roadmap if the situation does not change in the anticipated period.
We did something similar 20 years ago in the adult industry at the time of the HIV outbreak. The porn industry has a PASS program under which every performer needs to go through a compulsory HIV test every 14 days. A database manages these test results and details of the performers who have gone through the test. If a performer is found positive for HIV, all porn studios in the US immediately suspend their shoots, until a contact tracing is done to curb the spread.
The point is, the porn industry has seen the tough times like these and has been able to come up with a long-term plan to function amidst a spread like HIV. It’s possible that something like this could be implemented for the COVID-19, too. If COVID vaccines do not hit the market any time sooner, it’s a possibility that you will need a plan for long-term sustainability.
Choose the right strategy for you
Once you have your roadmap, it’s time to formulate the strategies to implement on the ground zero. The first thing that comes in the picture is analyzing all possible ways using which you can benefit from the current situation. Prepare a draft of the strategies that you would adopt to gain the potential traction for your new business goals.
For example, special discounts and offers. We saw how Pornhub came up with its lockdown special free access to the premium subscription in the early days of the pandemic. This strategy gave the platform not just a massive word of mouth but also helped it to acquire so many registered user accounts, which added up in their list of leads.
It was a bold move, but also a perfect marketing strategy, which gave it a broad coverage in the mainstream media. Platforms that do not run even the paid Ads from adult Ad Networks sited this news in their featured publications. It’s something that worked for Pornhub.
So what’s your similar strategy? Think deep and identify the opportunities you can leverage to gain traction. At this stage, you need some solid roadmap and innovative ideas to make it among the target customers:
Low cost ideas for beginners: Leverage from the demands to setup a low cost website, which makes passive income from easily accessible sources like porn affiliates, cam site affiliates, eCommerce affiliates, and advertising. You can use the solutions like xStreamer and xMarketplace to setup low cost affiliate websites in a few steps and start making passive income.
- Use xStreamer to build a porn tube site and make money by re-directing traffic to other adult tube, webcam, and pay sites.
- Use xMarketplace to build an eCommerce affiliate site and make money re-directing traffic to the sex toys stores.
Ideas with bigger investments: If you can spare some big fat investment and the lower-margin affiliate income seems too less, you can invest in bigger business ideas with native revenue channels. Here, you need not depend on affiliate commission to make money, as you can depend on on-site revenue sources:
- Build an adult webcam site using xCams use channels like tips, private chat, eCommerce, and selling video clips to make bigger income.
- Build an adult fan site like OnlyFans using xFans – OnlyFans Clone Script. This is one of the hottest adult business ideas in the current scenario.
Ideas for the attracting the youth: Apart from legacy business ideas, the market is also accepting new ways to revive the old business activities. Take phone sex operation for instance.
- You can build a sexting business using xChat, and start attracting young people in their native flair. You can hire adult models to operate the sex chats, just as you hire phone sex operators.
Plan the marketing strategy
You need a marketing plan to answer the questions like- how your business will communicate and meet what customers want and need in a post-lockdown world. However, before that, you need the right mindset to believe that you can use the crisis to your benefit and discover futuristic strategies to thrive after the pandemic, too.
- Reconstruct: Reconstruct your marketing, conversion, and sales funnel
- Respond: Respond to the crisis and present your business as available during the crisis
- Digital Media: Invest in content and other digital marketing strategies, share your stories
- New values: Watch, Learn, Acquire, and Sustain the value born out of the pandemic
Proper execution of the planned strategies
Implement everything we discussed in the above section on the ground. You may also have to start with a clean slate, but the proper execution the strategies will ensure that you not only survive the crisis but also make it suitable for the post COVID era:
Reconstruct: Things are tough now and they will stay so for a long time. Adult entertainment and eCommerce are comparatively doing better than completely shut industries like travel, tourism, and hospitality. Luckily, consumers are still buying products and services from most of the segments of the adult industry.
Nevertheless, don’t take this for guaranteed, as we saw how you still need a replenishment, eventually. That’s why it would be a wise choice to practice a change in your marketing and sales funnel to accommodate the new consumer behaviors, which are inevitable. Focus on keeping the existing customers on-board. Offer them with discounts and free stuff, for you need to maintain consistency and quality to prevent your customers from having a second thought about your brand, its trust, and values.
The entire purpose of this reconstruction is to keep your customers engaged without doubting your business and it’s credibility during the tough times. You can do that by responding to the new normal.
Respond: According to a study by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, 56% of the customers are happy that brands are doing their best to stay in the business and help the customers in the pandemic. This also means that pausing your operations due to any kind of reason in this crisis will create an unforgettable bad image of your business among your loyal customers.
The only way to deal with the situation is by projecting your business as someone who would never leave his or her customers in the middle of nowhere. Respond to the crisis with special offers, new services, and other helpful approaches, just to let them know that you are still there for them. One simple positive step in response to the crisis will build a never-ending trust among your loyal customers.
Digital Media: Invest in every possible digital media to let your audience know about how you are responding to the crisis. In these times, people are relying more and more on the internet, social media, and other digital media platforms to keep up, research about products and services. Become a part of this workflow by assisting your prospects with digital marketing.
- Use content marketing to share your COVID stories
- Use Social media to engage your followers base with relevant posts on COVID
- Conduct live streams, webinars and show the faces of people working behind
- Target new COVID related keywords to run your paid Ads on different platforms
Keep this in mind that the entire purpose of your marketing campaign is letting your customers know about your response to the crisis and how you are still there for them in every possible way. Share your backstage stories about the steps that you have taken to ensure the safety of your customers, B2B partners, and employees. This will build trust among old as well as new customers joining with your business.
New Values: You need to re-invent your prospects. This is a time when you either can come out even stronger or be wiped out completely. Failing to accommodate in the new normal would only result in getting removed from the market by someone wiser than you. A good marketing strategy will identify the current pains of the prospects and offer lucrative opportunities.
Even if you were forced to shut most of your operations, you need to continue with the partial aspects to sustain the market. For example, when the government banned the sale of non-essential products on eCommerce stores, many businesses started selling essential products to stay relevant among their customers. We have seen fashion eCommerce stores selling hand sanitizers and protection gears in the lockdown.
You might have to function beyond your niche to sustain your business. Stay flexible and keep your options open for the worse case scenarios. As of now, you need values that you can sustain even after the crisis ends. For example, a traditional strip club, which started live-streaming of its shows to sustain the lockdown, can continue to do so even after the lockdown ends. It’s a good way to have some additional prospects.
For many businesses, the pandemic has come out as an opportunity to deepen the relationship with the customers. Businesses learned to pick the opportunities from a heap of troubles and it taught us about the need for solid customer relationships and supply chain ecosystem. The greatest leaders indeed come out from revolutions and crises. Now, it’s up to you- if you want to come out even stronger from this pandemic or fade in the crowd like countless others who failed to sustain.